by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published April, 2018
What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from — and who she may one day be.
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
It was not until I reached adulthood that I finally began to appreciate my name. People call me Gigi because that is the nickname my grandmother gave me when I was born. She thought my parents had given me a name that was too long for a baby. My given name is Georgianna. My kindergarten name tag was really long and I had a hard time learning how to spell it. My classmates had names like Kimberly and Nichole or Julie. I was ashamed of my long name that was so different. I was named after a lovely longtime friend of the family and I can now appreciate where my name came from and I like that it is not like everyone else. However, I could totally relate to little Alma who wasn't happy with her long name.
I love how her father described each ancestor for whom she is named and Alma's reaction as she learned more about them. The names did seem to fit after all. The author gives the reader so much to examine in the illustrations. In each ancestor illustration there is a resemblance or a mannerism that can be seen in Alma.
This book could spark some interesting discussions about names and how they originated with children at home or with students at school.
I would recommend it most to ages 3-7.
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Publishers Weekly-Starred review